Friday, January 23, 2009


Somebody was asking me what is a zeugma. It's the Greek word for "yoke" and is used in rhetoric to link two or more parts of speech with another part of speech ie one subject with two or more verbs or one verb with two or more objects or two or more subjects with one verb etc. A couple of examples are:
"Mr Pickwick took his hat and his leave."
"When at Nightmare Abbey, he would condole with Mr. Glowry, drink Madeira with Scythrop, crack jokes with Mr. Hilary, hand Mrs. Hilary to the piano, take charge of her fan and gloves, and turn over her music with surprising dexterity, quote Revelations with Mr. Toobad, and lament the good old times of feudal darkness with the Transcendental Mr. Flosky."
The latter quotation is from Thomas Love Peacock's Nightmare Abbey which is supposed to be an excellent satire of the romantic novel. Have you read it?


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